<span class="article__meta">Written by</span><p class="author__name"><a href="https://www.cbheating.co.uk/author/james-enderby/" target="_self">James Enderby</a></p>

James Enderby

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10 Heat Pump Myths That Are Just Hot Air

Because heat pumps are new for most people in the UK, there are a huge amount of myths and misconceptions around them; we talk daily with customers and the most common misconceptions around heat pumps are that they’re too expensive, too noisy, and inefficient – so let’s dispel some of these myths and clear the air.

Myth #1: “Heat pumps are too expensive!”

This myth wasn’t really a myth in the early days of heat pumps, and is still one that’s relative to your means. The initial outlay of a high-efficiency, expert-installed air source heat pump system isn’t cheap – but you can now make use of government grants to immediately save £7,500 from your upfront costs.

This means that you’re not only upgrading your heating system to  eco-friendly alternative (when powered by green energy tariffs or on-site renewable sources), but you’re doing so at an incredibly discounted price!

We explain heat pump costs on our dedicated page – we don’t hide our prices!

Myth #2: “Air source heat pumps are noisy!”

When heat pumps first came reasonably popular within the domestic market they certainly were quite noisy and unappealing. Usually, the ones like these that people think of are either air-to-air and air conditioning units or the old, fixed speed units without modern inverters

But the domestic air-to-water heat pumps of today have come a long way – using the latest in noise reduction technology like scroll compressors, composite fans and energy efficiency enhancements such as inverters, weather compensation and

We detail heat pump noise here but the noise produced by our heat pumps from 3 metres away is around 38 decibels – which is equivalent to around a whisper – in standard operation mode.

To put that into perspective, a gas boiler flue produces between 40-60dB of noise while operating.

Myth #3: “Heat pumps are not efficient during cold winters!”

Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air outside. Because they don’t need to burn a fuel to operate, they can operate at more than 100% efficiency – usually between 3-400% efficiency over a whole year. But despite being called ‘heat’ pumps, they don’t need hot air to work (in the same way that solar panels don’t need sunshine to still work).

They’re able to use energy from the air to boil a refrigerant gas which turns into a vapour. This vapour can be compressed to produce heat. The refrigerant boils at a very low temperature meaning they’ll be able to work well all year round. This is especially the case here in the UK, where temperatures only fall to around 0°C for a few weeks every year.

It’s no coincidence, then, that a country as cold as Sweden has the highest percentage of heat pumps in the world – they just work. Now, they do work less efficiently in extremely cold weather, but this is then more than made up for when they work at more than 400% efficiency during warmer months!

The 300-400% efficiency we always aim for is an average efficiency over the whole year.

Myth #4: “Heat pumps need to stay on all the time!”

This is usually by far the most efficient way to run a heat pump – which means that it uses significantly less energy in total. So while it can be on all the time, this doesn’t mean it’s using as much energy as a gas boiler that’s staying on all the time.

Myth #5: “Heat pumps only work with underfloor heating!”

Heat pump systems are very efficient when connected to an underfloor heating system, but many customers have heat pump installations with only radiators. You also don’t necessarily need to have new radiators installed!

A new heat pump will work perfectly well with more modern convection radiators and can function with traditional panel ones, but will operate at a lower efficiency than if you upgrade to larger radiators – learn more about radiators and whether you’ll benefit from an upgrade here.

Myth #6: “A heat pump can only be installed in new buildings!”

While planning heat pump installations into new-build projects can offer great value for money in terms of system efficiency and total cost, a heat pump can be installed in any property – from old Victorian houses to brand new homes. Expert designers and installers like ours are highly trained to deal with any situation in a heat pump installation.

Usually, however, with retrofits, we’ll have to carry out a heat loss report as part of our initial survey & system design. As part of these, we’ll also recommend any other system upgrades that would benefit the system efficiency.

Myth #7: “Heat pumps take up a lot of space!”

While heat pump units can be quite large compared to a high efficiency combi boiler, they have the benefit of being outside your home. And, depending on the heating system you previously had, this has the added benefit of sometimes freeing up space within your home as you’ll no longer have to have a clunky gas boiler in a cupboard or a kitchen.

We will, however, still need space inside your home for some components, but many of these components are similar to ones you’d have with a normal gas boiler.

Myth #8: “Heat pumps are used for heating only!”

Air-to-water heat pumps, such as the ones we install can heat your home and the water that comes out of your taps. If you haven’t already got a hot water cylinder we will have to find space for one of these as well.

Myth #9: “A heat pump needs frequent maintenance work!”

Like gas boilers, heat pumps still need to be regularly serviced to ensure they continue to work efficiently – to remain under warranty, they need a yearly service. But because they’re not having to burn a fuel, they also tend to break down & need repairs much less often.

The key for ASHPs is that they’re a ‘set it and forget it’ element of your home. A good installation is something that may feel like a huge undertaking at the time, but is soon forgotten due to trouble-free operation.

Myth #10: “Heat pumps are money wasters!”

A heat pump system installed and operated inefficiently can certainly be a money waster – but then turning a gas boiler on with all the windows open is just as much a waste of money. However, an air source heat pump system installed by certified experts is often the opposite of this.

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